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rings F 

Bob Duncan 

Executive Director 

Wildlife management is 
never without its chal- 
lenges, nor has it been with- 
out its champions. The fall 
issue of The Wildlife Profes- 
sional, a publication of The 
Wildlife Society, reveals that 
such was the case in this 
country during the 1880s 
when concern for the future 
of wildlife populations re- 
sulted in the formation of 
many different hunting, conservation, and 
scientific organizations to combat market 
hunting for meat and hides and the indis- 
criminate killing of herons and egrets for 
feathers for the millenary trade. These or- 
ganizations also fought for bans on the 
wanton waste of game after the country 
witnessed the decimation of the bison 
herds during the 1860s and 70s. In re- 
sponse, Teddy Roosevelt and other conser- 
vation-minded individuals moved to form 
the Boone and Crockett Club to preserve 
big game species. 

The 1930s was a watershed decade for 
the wildlife profession, born out of the 
dust and despair of the Great Depression. 
During this era, the migratory bird stamp 
(the duck stamp) was established in 1934; 
Aldo Leopold became the first professor of 
wildlife management in the U.S. at the 
University of Wisconsin; and the greatest 
trust fund ever created for wildlife conser- 
vation — the Pittman-Robertson Federal 
Aid in Wildlife Restoration — was passed 
by Congress. This legislative milestone in 
conservation was co-authored by a native 
son of Virginia and former chairman of 
what was then the Virginia Commission 

of Game and Inland Fish- 
eries, A. Willis Robertson. 
These men rose to the chal- 
lenges of their time, paving 
the way to modern wildlife 

Fast forward to 2010. We 
now face the challenges of 
climate change, habitat loss 
and fragmentation, invasive 
species, emerging wildlife 
diseases (such as chronic 
wasting disease in deer and white-nose 
syndrome in bats), water quality issues, 
and the impacts of pollution from myriad 
sources. Overshadowing such issues is the 
omnipresent challenge of sustainable con- 
servation funding at both the state and na- 
tional levels. 

In this issue of Virginia Wildlife are 
two especially timely and related pieces. 
In the feature about the North American 
Model of Wildlife Conservation, King 
Montgomery explains the genesis and es- 
sential components of that model, and 
suggests that the challenges of the 21st 
century call for an updated framework. 
His feature is a timely precursor to the 
financial outlook presented by Chief Op- 
erating Officer Matt Koch, who provides a 
straightforward accounting of our finan- 
ces and the range of options available to 
better position our agency to meet future 
funding needs. 

Those who know me will attest to my 
optimistic nature. They will not be sur- 
prised to hear me say that, reflecting true 
American spirit, we will garner the re- 
sources and the integrity to rise to this 
difficult task. 

Mission Statement 

To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to seme the needs of the Commonwealth; 
To provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard 
the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia: To promote safety for persons 
and property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an 
awareness of and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia s Wildlife and Natural Resources 

Commonwealth of Virginia 
Bob McDonnell, Governor 



Subsidized this publication 

Secretary of Natural Resources 

Douglas W. Domenech 

Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries 

Bob Duncan 
Executive Director 

Members of the Board 

Ward Burton, Halifax 
Lisa Caruso, Church Road 
Brent Clarke, Fairfax 
Curtis D. Colgate, Virginia Beach 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
John W. Montgomery, Jr., Sandston 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
F. Scott Reed, Jr., Manakin-Sabot 
Leon Turner, Fincastle 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 

Magazine Staff 

Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Julia Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 
Emily Pels, Art Director 
Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 
Marc Puckett, Staff Contributor 

Color separations and printing by 
Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA. 

Virginia midlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is published 
monthly by the Virginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries. Send all subscription orders and 
address changes to Virginia Wildlife, P. O. Box 7477, 
Red Oak, Iowa 51591-0477. Address all other com- 
munications concerning this publication to Virginia 
Wildlife, P. O. Box 11104, 4010 West Broad Street, 
Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. Subscription rates 
are $12.95 for one year, $23.95 for two years; $4.00 
per each back issue, subject to availability. Out-of- 
country rate is $24.95 for one year and must be paid 
in U.S. funds. No refunds for amounts less than 
$5.00. To subscribe, call toll-free (800) 710-9369. 
POSTMASTER: Please send all address changes to 
Virginia Wildlife, P.O. Box 7477, Red Oak, Iowa 
51591-0477. Postage for periodicals paid at Rich- 
mond, Virginia and additional entry offices. 

Copyright 2010 by the Virginia Department of Game 
and Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shall 
afford to all persons an equal access to Department 
programs and facilities without regard to race, color, 
religion, national origin, disability, sex, or age. If you 
believe that you have been discriminated against in 
any program, activity or facility, please write to: Vir- 
ginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 
ATTN: Compliance Officer, (4010 West Broad Street.) 
P. O. Box 11104, Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. 

"This publication is intended for general informa- 
tional purposes only and every effort has been made 
to ensure its accuracy. The information contained 
herein does not serve as a legal representation of fish 
and wildlife laws or regulations. The Virginia De- 
partment of Game and Inland Fisheries does not as- 
sume responsibility for any change in dates, 
regulations, or information that may occur after pub- 

About the cover: Black bears 
are denning now across Virginia 
and in a quiet state, in which 
their body temperature drops 
and heart rate slows. Cubs 
will be born in mid- to late 
January and remain with the 
sow during their first year. 
See related story on page 4. 
©Mark Miller/Images On The 


For subscriptions 

and address changes 



12 issues for $12.95 

24 issues for $23.95 

Bears in Abundance 

by Nancy Wright Beasley 
Much of what we know about 
Virginia's black bears can be traced 
back to this program and this man. 

Listening Closely To 
An Old Bird Dog 

by Marc Puckett 
A good bird dog can teach you a 
thing or two, well beyond the 
terrain you are hunting. 

A Model of Wildlife 

by King Montgomery 
The fundamentals of wildlife management 
were built upon this model, rooted in the 
Public Trust Doctrine. 

A Day With a Duck Call Maker 

by Tee Clarkson 
Single reed or double: no trouble at all for 
this veteran craftsman. 

Coursey Springs: 

A State-of-the-Art Hatchery 

by Beau Beasley 
Renovations to the Bath County hatchery 
spell good news for trout anglers. 

Estuaries to Oceans 

by Gail Brown 
Science field trips at Seaford Elementary 
have kids and parents awash in enthusiasm. 


Financial Summary 
Off The Leash 
Photo Tips 
Dining In 
2010 Index 



A look at the black bear 

research program 

launched in the early '80s 

and the man behind it. 

by Nancy Wright Beasley 

Students no longer move qui- 
etly down the path between 
the two rows of cages, trying 
not to disturb nursing mothers. The 
ever-present whir of an oscillating 
centrifuge has stopped, empty test 
tubes resting in a stand nearby. The 
squall of cubs, resisting efforts to 
weigh and measure them, hasn't 
been heard in months. The passing of 
over a quarter-century of research 
has come and gone so quietly that 
few, other than those directly in- 
volved, will notice. The effect of 
years of black bear research, howev- 
er, has spread internationally, posi- 
tioning Virginia as a leader in the 

Dr. Michael R. Vaughan, who 
originated the program and recently 
retired as its only director, stands 
looking into an empty cage, recalling 
how the work began just after he 
completed a doctorate in wildlife 
ecology at the University of Wiscon- 
sin. Vaughan, a Hampton native, 
was looking for a way to return 

As Assistant Leader of the Vir- 
ginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife 
Research Unit (a collaboration 


among our agency, the Dept. of Fish- 
eries and Wildlife Sciences at Virginia 
Tech, and the USGS Biological Re- 
source Div.), Vaughan has provided 
key research support, answering 
many wildlife management questions 
throughout Virginia. "I arrived at Vir- 
ginia Tech in 1980 in a joint program 
as a new employee of the federal gov- 
ernment and the university. I walked 
into my office and said, 'Well, what do 
I do next?'" 

What Vaughan did next was 
make contact with the Department 
(DGIF), as well as the National Park 
Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 

"I said, 'I'm at Tech. This is my ex- 
pertise. If we can be of service to you, 
let me know.'" 

It didn't take long for a call to 
come in. The Shenandoah National 
Park contacted Vaughan saying they 
needed a deer study, which led to a 
bear study, which morphed into a 
bear management plan for the park. 
The study was to estimate the number 
of bears, look at reproductive and sur- 
vival rates, mortality factors, habitat 
use, and generally learn what's im- 
portant to bears in an area that's home 
to the largest bear population in the 
common wea 1 th . 

"Starting about 1983, we wound 
up doing ten years of work that not 
only included population dynamics, 
but when gypsy moths came to the 
state, we looked at how gypsy moth 
damage affected bear populations." 

When gypsy moths defoliate 
trees, particularly oak trees, it affects 
the acorn crop, a main food source for 

Dr. Vaughan (left and above) begins a sonogram on a sleeping bear. A kerchief 
shields her eyes, as she must not blink under anesthesia. 

bears. The study revealed that the 
moths' appetite for leaves allowed 
more light to reach the ground, en- 
couraging a good production of 
grapes and other soft mast that bears 
feed upon in lieu of acorns; therefore, 
the defoliation didn't affect bear sur- 
vival or reproductive rates. 

At the same time, Vaughan was 
overseeing research in such far-flung 
locations as Alaska, Colorado, and 
the Virgin Islands. In the last three 
decades, it seems there was never a 
time when this husband, father, and 
now grandfather wasn't busy. 

"You learn to juggle a lot of dif- 
ferent things," Vaughan says with a 
wide grin. "I don't know how to de- 
scribe how it comes to you — you just 
learn to do it." 

Along the way, Vaughan became 
a tenured professor at Tech, helping 
numerous graduate and doctoral stu- 
dents earn degrees and secure posi- 
tions all over the world. Eric 
Hellgren, the original student who 
helped with captive black bear re- 
search in Virginia, is now the director 
of the Cooperative Wildlife Research 
Laboratory at Southern Illinois Uni- 
versity. Others have become bear bi- 
ologists in the region. Still more 
students are working in a 
host of countries, after hav- 
ing been recruited by 
Vaughan to first study at 

Top, bears are darted and 
allowed to fall completely 
asleep before being removed 
from their cages for lab work. 

I 1 









Shown here, an actual den tree in the wild. 

Tech. Many of his students have lec- 
tured in foreign countries, reporting 
on the field work they've pioneered 
on the black bears that inhabit almost 
every one of Virginia's 98 counties. 

"Eric and I built the first cage for 
the captive bears at this compound. 
We got our first bear in 1987." 

Bob Duncan, then assistant chief 
of wildlife at the DGIF, suggested 
Vaughan use a bear from Maymont 
Park for the experimental phase. 
Vaughan needed to hold the bear 
over the winter and determine if it 

could withstand having a blood sam- 
ple drawn every 10 days without ad- 
versely affecting its health. When 
that was successful, Duncan helped 
secure the needed permits from the 
Department. Over time, six cages 
were built to house and study bears 
captured by DGIF staff and brought 
to the bear research facility that's 
tucked away in a thicket of woods 
near the agricultural studies pro- 
gram at Tech. 

Funding for the project was se- 
cured through a dissertation studies 

tuition grant for Hellgren, wildlife de- 
partments in the state and federal 
government, as well as research 
grants. Different hunt clubs also con- 
tributed significantly. Funds were 
eventually secured to build a research 
office, complete with a laboratory and 
an apartment where one student 
lived full-time to help care for the ani- 
mals. While numerous Tech students 
worked on the study for college cred- 
it, many others volunteered, just to be 
near the cubs. 

Peak breeding season for black 
bears begins in July. Female bears 
were generally captured from mid- 
July to August, enabling blood sam- 
ples to be drawn beginning in early 
October. The bears were anesthetized 
every ten days and samples drawn 
through April. Results of the studies 
have even been applied toward 
human research. 

"We had a psychiatrist interested 
in comparing particular elements of 
blood samples from denning bears to 
those of his patients who were de- 
pressed. He learned that some com- 
ponents in the blood were similar. 
Another study is trying to determine 
how a bear can remain virtually 
asleep and not lose bone mass. That 
could have far-reaching implications 
for elderly patients with osteoporosis, 
because humans lose bone mass if 
they don't stay active. 

"Bears breed every other year, so 
we were looking for adult females 
who were not lactating. Once we 
started getting into ultrasound, we 
knew how many cubs to expect from 
each female. We started being able to 
measure them in utero." 

Using the measurements taken 
after their births, Vaughan developed 
an algorithm that could age any cub. 

"By comparison, we could deter- 
mine the age of cubs and that's some- 
thing hard to tell in the wild. These 
bears are in a den and you don't know 
when birth is actually occurring. 

1" Undergraduate research students 

J Ashley Graham (L) and Gabriela 

-§ Zapatero (R) measure and record 

$ growth of cubs, including their feet. 

"We also weigh the mother bears 
and do other tests, like fat studies to 
determine how much weight they are 
losing. Lactation is a very energy de- 
manding activity. When a mother 
bear is feeding, she can lose up to two 
pounds a day," Vaughan explains. 
"Tests for progesterone levels can de- 
termine within five days when the 
bear is implanted. Female black bears 
can hold a fertilized egg in limbo 
until the time is ripe for implantation. 
If the bear isn't healthy enough to 
carry the cub, the fertilized egg is ab- 
sorbed. A few other animals, like 
wolverines, also do this delayed im- 

Litters typically range between 
one and four cubs, usually born in 
January. Although their claws cannot 
retract, cubs can easily be handled 
during their mother's anesthesia pe- 
riod, and their statistics added to the 
records kept during the process. All 
are released back into the wild in 
May, after spring gobbler season is 
over and hunters are out of the 
woods. While held captive, the bears 
enter their denning period. 

"Bears are not true hibernators," 
Vaughan emphasizes. "They go into 
a den and lower their temperature 
from about 101 to about 93 degrees. 
Their heart rate slows to 8-10 beats 
per minute, but they're not in a stu- 
por and can be easily aroused. Bears 
do not eat or drink, urinate or defe- 
cate, but shut down their systems at 
this time. We stop feeding them in 
late December and begin again in 
April. In this part of the country, bears 
are in this quiet state from November 
to March or April. In other areas, a 
bear can den for up to seven months." 

Denning bears can lose up to 30 
to 40 percent of their body weight. A 
female adult averages about 120-150 
pounds in the summer but may reach 
up to 170-210 pounds before den- 
ning. On occasion they may rise and 
walk around. 

"When the babies are born in Jan- 
uary, the bears are awake. They may 
even stand up for the birth," Vaughan 
says. "We actually recorded that once 
in this study and one other birth as 

well. A bear cub weighs about a half 
pound and is about six inches long. 
They're almost hairless and their 
eyes and ears take about five or six 
weeks to open." 

In addition to the captive bear re- 
search where about 190 cubs were 
born over the years, Vaughan co-di- 
rected the 10-year Cooperative Al- 
leghany Bear Study with the DGIF 
from 1994-2004 to study the demog- 
raphy of bear populations in western 
Virginia. "That was the biggest study 
we did in Virginia," Vaughan says. "I 
had 11 post-graduate students get 
their degrees on that project. To ad- 
dress DGIF management questions, 
we were looking at population dy- 
namics of bears in the Appalachian 
Mountains of Virginia, trying to 
come up with bear densities and re- 
productive and survival rates so we 
could calculate population growth 
rates. It's hard to get these long-term 
studies. An animal like a bear that's 
long lived, you need 8 or 10 years of 
research." Over the 10-year study 
more than 1,000 individual bears 
were captured and another 455 cubs 
from 188 litters also were monitored. 

Bears can live up to 18 or 20 

Dr. Vaughan prepares medication to 
sedate a bear while Bob Duncan 
looks on. 

DGIF Bear Biologist Jaime Sajecki 
working in the field with a recently 
anesthetized black bear. 

years. There are approximately 
16,000 black bears in Virginia and 
hunting them is allowed. However, 
when a population is hunted, there is 
a need to understand the population 
densities, growth rates, reproduction 


and survival rates, habitat use, and 
impact of harvest. The research re- 
sults from this cooperative study 
have provided key information for 
DGIF to set hunting regulations ap- 
propriately. Studying black bear de- 
mographics is important for state- 
wide bear management, which is the 
primary function of Jaime Sajecki, 
bear biologist for DGIF. 

"In talking with state residents, I 
have learned that many think there 
are grizzly bears in Virginia when, in 
fact, the only bears in this state are 
black bears," Sajecki says. "Part of 
our mission in the bear program is to 
educate residents about the natural 
lifestyle of bears. In doing that, it will 
cut down on perceived negative or 
unexpected encounters between 
bears and humans — which is anoth- 
er objective of our mission and an im- 
portant component of overall bear 

According to Sajecki, the Black 
Bear Management Plan is currently 

being updated to ensure that popula- 
tions remain at desired levels for all 
citizens to appreciate. A number of 
factors — including hunting controls, 
reforestation programs, public land 
purchases, and management-based 
research — go into such plans and ac- 
count for the healthy population of 
black bears we enjoy today. 

Bob Duncan, who became the ex- 
ecutive director of the Department in 
2008, was on hand in 2009 when 
Vaughan, his students, and an at- 
tending veterinarian discovered the 
first pregnant female of that year's 
study through sonograms per- 
formed on the anesthetized bear. 
Later, when the cubs — the last ones 
Vaughan would study — were about 
54 days old, he gingerly held one that 
was snuggling inside his jacket, rest- 
ing from its weigh-in. 

When asked to describe the 
biggest achievement of the program, 
Vaughan thought for a minute, then 
said, "I don't think it's any one thing. 

We have a body of work here that 
stretches far beyond Virginia. We are 
known throughout this country and 
other places in the world as one of the 
leading places for bear research in the 
world. We've developed a reputation 
here, and I've had about 28 of my stu- 
dents who have worked on bear pop- 
ulations publish their research and 
it's known worldwide." 

Vaughan still has his hand in the 
pot, so to speak, since he is writing 
grants that he hopes will extend the 
studies he shepherded for so long. 

"I'm proud of what we've been 
able to accomplish," Vaughan says 
quietly as he shuts the door to the 
now silent laboratory. "Even if I'm no 
longer a part of it, I have no regrets. 
Life is too short for that." □ 

Nancy Wright Beasley, a Richmond-based 
journalist, has been a midlife enthusiast since 
growing up on a farm in Virginia's Blue Ridge 
foothills. She is the author of Izzy's Fire: 
Finding Humanity in the Holocaust. 


DBill Lea 


Shell, my Llewellyn setter and first bird 
dog, turned 15 in May last year. I 
grilled her a hamburger "cake" com- 
plete with candles. She was unimpressed. Her 
only love in life is running free through bird cover. 

Shell still hunts after all these years, though 
slowly and not all day long anymore. Her hips 
have gotten small and feeble and she often falls 
when trying to cross an obstacle or plow through 
cover. But, her eyes still sparkle like a creek riffle in 
the sun. When she sees my gun case come out of 
our basement door, she can't contain her excite- 
ment. In the instant she realizes where we are 
going, she becomes an ageless puppy — barking, 
scratching at the fence gate, and whining, "Dont 
leave me, don't leave me." 

I've learned far more from Shell than she 
has from me. In fact, I've only recently started to 
listen. I wish I had learned to listen many years 

ago. Shell tells me that there are no bad days in 
the field, there is no such thing as unhuntable 
weather, there is nothing in this world that wor- 
rying will change and, no matter what a map 
and compass may say, there is only one true di- 
rection in life that matters. . . and that is forward. 
She has never once lingered on the truck seat 
when the door opens, as if to say, "I m not sure it 
is worth getting out here, Boss. " She knows that 
when you quit getting out, you are done for. 

It is never too late to start listening closely to 
an old bird dog. Learn to hear and you might 
find out why life has little to do with a heavy 
game bag and everything to do with the love of 
the pursuit. 

I became a bird hunter (an upland game 
bird hunter, for the uninitiated) when most folks 
were getting out of it, selling their guns, and buy- 
ing golf clubs. In the beginning I did not have my 

own dog and it was all about killing birds. That 
remained true for a while even after Shell came 
along. We beat the cover down hard and fast, 
and I was disappointed when few birds were 
found. But at the end of those bird-less days I 
still had a hard time getting Shell back in the 
truck- I d walk ahead of her and blow the whistle, 
but she knew what lay at the end of the trail. 
Balking, she'd look at me and say, "One more 
thicket, Boss (Boss, right, LOU). Come on. 
This will all be over some day. "Then she'd drop 
down on her front legs playfully, give a bounce, 
and into the cutover she'd go again. I listened 
closely and began to know why. 

I realized that every bird hunter will face the 
end of a day sometime — standing at the truck 
exhausted and staring back down the barrel of a 
10-mile trek — when they'll look down that trail 
and know they'll never walk it again. Shell never 



looks back or says goodbye. "Until the sight" is 
the only "so long she will acknowledge. 

There were days when the birds were there; 
those days that just had "the feel." And Shell 
knew it, too. You could see it in her face. Some- 
thing serious was afoot. I remember an afternoon 
stolen from work in a cutover in Cumberland 
County, down by the Green Level Swamp with 
the first hint of a snowstorm in the sky. The air 
tasted like distilled water, which meant scenting 
conditions were good and the quail were "on the 
feed. " Shell found a covey feeding in a partridge 
pea patch that flushed between me and the ap- 
proaching clouds. They looked like black-winged 
fighters out of a Star Wars movie and I saw two 
birds fall at two shots, then lost them in a patch 
of bright, back-lit clouds — a rare double that \ 
feared were destined to become possum food 
but, instead, she found. And the excitement in 
her ei^s said to me, "Don't you see it now 
friend? It's not even the hope, it is the knowing 
that the birds will be there again. " 

I closed my eyes and I could see all the 
finds, all the woodcock, all the grouse, and all 
the special things along the way. And I could see 
that the moments of time between those things 
did not exist. In the end, our lives boil down to 
fast frames of the memories we've made: movies 
of all the good and the bad that we remember, 
with everything else gone forever. 

I am listening to Shell again. Behind those 
deep eyes she says, "Measure your life in memo- 
ries, friend, not years. " 

There is an athleticism to bird hunting — a 
grace and a motion — / can find in no other 
sport. In an age when it seems that finding time 
to exercise is like trying to wring water from a 
brick and staying in shape means spending per- 
fectly good hunting money on some fitness con- 
traption, bird hunting can fill that need in a 
much richer way. I find it strange that folks who 
can spend hours hiking through the forest on 
trails, enjoying the day perfectly without birds or 
dogs, can turn around and lament a bird-less 
day hunting — where walking 8 or 9 miles is not 
uncommon. It is as if the scenery, the new things 
discovered, the smells, and the sounds were 
somehow wasted time because nothing made its 
way into the game pouch. 

But this is a story about Shell. And she's 
not sentimental. She is a fun loving, in-the- 
moment optimist who has never visited a trail on 
which she did not want to see around the next 
bend. I can close my eyes and picture her splash- 
ing in an old pond near the skeleton of a log 
cabin we found high in the mountains of Craig 

County 13 years ago. About half the old fire- 
place still stood and the hand-hewn base logs 
were intact. An enormous hearth stone made a 
good place to eat a bag lunch or rest a sore back- 
I took a short nap on it many times. Crowing all 
around this old homestead were the biggest sweet 
cherry trees I have ever seen, along with one rare 
butternut tree. The Appalachian Trail, before it 
was re-routed, ran within 100 feet of it. Many of 
the trees had been struck down by ice and wind, 
and growing through them were thickets of wild 
grape and greenbrier. It all rested on a flat at the 
base of a small rift in the main mountain ridge. 
All of three or four acres, tops, and over one mile 
uphill from Craig's Creek along the remnants of 
an old logging road. Sometimes it held a grouse, 
maybe two, but never more. And sometimes it 
held only the ghostly apparitions of mothers, fa- 
thers, and children long gone under. 

Shell and I visited this place dozens of times 
and never once asked ourselves if it was worth the 
climb — grouse or no. Thinking about the feel of 
that old place makes me smile to this day. 

I find myself gazing at nothing from time to 
time as a memory shoves work aside for a few mo- 
ments. I hear a bell jingle and see Shell on point 
on the top of an old beaver dam surrounded by a 
hazel alder thicket. The mud is dripping off her 
belly. Her ribs pulse in and out as she vacuums 
the bird scent in. Balancing on the dam, her legs 
start to shake and she drops down to steady her- 
self, trying to see the woodcock- I walk in and a 
small covey oj quail flushes within feet of us. To 
see quail in this swampy woodcock habitat star- 
tles me; my gun hangs like a useless walking stick 
from my hands. "You forgotten what we are here 
for, Boss?" Shell quizzes me, before her angry de- 
parture back into the alders. 

We wandered much farther west, too, all 
the way to Kansas. My mind's eye can see frames 
of Shell's first pheasant. I squirreled away an af- 
ternoon to myself while my cousins visited and 
took the kids to town. I had been into quail all af- 
ternoon and shooting poorly. I was down to my 
last round — a number 6 special pheasant load. 
About 2 miles from the truck, Shell nudged a 
pheasant out of a cattail thicket. I fired my last 
round a bit long. Though hit hard, the tough old 
cockbird flew out of sight just over a hilltop 100 
yards away, clearing it by only a couple of feet. 
Shell was not far behind him and disappeared a 
few seconds later. Running and out of breath, I 
finally topped the hill. Far down the slope, near a 
brushy creek draw, Shell sat with the big bird in 
her mouth. As I drew near she asked, What ya 
running for? It was never in doubt. " 

And one of my favorite memories is of a day 
my dad and I hunted the tops of some big ridges 
in Giles County. A snowstorm hit us and by the 
time we finished up, it had left us with a bitter 
cold wind and three or four powdery inches on 
the ground. We didn't find a single grouse, but 
we ran into a guy taking photos of the scenery 
from the high cliffs — panoramic views of the 
snowy valleys below. He offered to take a picture 
of the three of us and mail it. You don't find 
many folks out in weather like that taking photo- 
graphs who are not trustworthy, and he was no 
exception. Dad and I both have that picture in 
barn-board frames — the three of us eleven years 
younger and fitter with Shell, in her prime, trying 
to break free and keep hunting. 

for the first time, I had to leave Shell behind last 
fall. It killed me to do so and I agonized over it for 
days. I was invited to go hunting in Nebraska 
with a friend. I hadn't been out West in eleven 
years and had two new dogs that needed a test. 
A trip like this one I knew would not be for the 
meek ' was looking at twenty-plus hours of pure 
road time one way and six or seven days of hunt- 
ing non-stop from daylight till dark through 
heavy cover. I feared Shell would not have fared 
well. And I also concluded that bringing her 
along might somehow rob the younger dogs of 
the trip they deserved. Too much thought, all of it 
making me realize just how much we'd shared 
and how much of my own life had passed. 

The young dogs and I had a great trip and 
added many new frames to my life movie, but I 
wish I had taken Shell. It was my fear that kept 
her home, not hers. 

Above everything else, I remember driving 
home after long days of hunting, after friends had 
left, and we were just the two of us again. Shell 
always rode up front with me. I d let her eat a can 
of dog food and give her a drink, and then she'd 
struggle into the seat next to me — beyond tired 
and finally accepting the day's end. We'd both 
settle in with a relaxed sigh that only the content- 
edly weary know. Many times we would have a 
two- or three-hour road trip ahead of us. My fa- 
vorite time was this ride home, petting her head 
now and then, feeling at peace. No radio, no 
talking. Just the hum of the road and the engine, 
while listening to an old bird dog sleep and 
watching her dream. D 

Marc Packett is a small game biologist and also leads the 
quad program for the Department of Game and Inland 


''Conservation means the wise use of the eart 

by King Montgomery 

he North American Model 
of Wildlife Conservation is 
very different from any 
other method of resource manage- 
ment elsewhere in the world. The 
concept took root before the time of 
the American Civil War, grew to a 
more formal structure by the early 
20 th century, and has matured over 
the years — working remarkably well 
ever since. Not that the model is per- 
fect; nothing conceived by humans 
ever is. It could stand some modest 
but important revision as we travel 
though the 21 st century. 

The foundation of the wildlife 
conservation model is the Public 
Trust Doctrine (PTD), which has its 
genesis in a U. S. Supreme Court rul- 
ing in 1842 and has been upheld over 
the generations by subsequent legal 
decisions. In short, the PTD provides 
the underpinnings for government at 
the federal and state levels to protect, 
conserve, allocate, and control 
wildlife for the benefit of the public. 
Thus, it attempts to define the limits 
for human impacts to and upon the 
removal of wildlife from the biota. 
The wise use of natural resources, in- 
cluding fish and other wildlife, re- 
mains its core value. 

Therefore, unlike in other coun- 
tries of the world, in North America 
no one person owns wildlife; rather, 
ownership resides with the entire cit- 
izenry. Wild animals are held by gov- 
ernments in trust for the benefit of 
present and future generations. 

The Model 

"The seven tenets of the North American 

Model of Wildlife Conservation have 

provided the foundation for the most 

successful wildlife management model 

in the world. " 

-Bob Duncan, 

DGIF Executive Director 

There are seven tenets of the model, 
sometimes referred to as the seven 
pillars and the seven sisters of 
wildlife conservation. Although the 
model mostly concerns wildlife, both 
hunted and non-hunted species, fish 
are an important part of the equation 
too. Hunters and anglers alike are 
charged with supporting and influ- 
encing the model's success to the 
benefit of the public at large. 

Wildlife is held in the 
public trust. 

In much of Europe and else- 
where, wildlife belongs to 
landowners, to the wealthy, and 
to the privileged. At one time roy- 
alty and titled persons owned all 
wildlife, and anyone poaching 
animals was subject to strict pun- 
ishment, including death. In 
Canada and the U.S., you and I 
"own" fish and wildlife. 

Elimination of markets 
for wildlife. 

Commercial hunting for wild 
meat, hides, and other body parts 
is a thing of the past. Unfortunate- 
ly, before this tenet took effect, the 



\nd its resources for the lasting good of men, " 

-Gifford Pinchot 

American bison (buffalo) almost 
was extirpated by market 
hunters, and billions of passenger 
pigeons were hunted to extinc- 
tion. Also in the early 20 th century 
millions of shorebirds, including 
egrets and herons, perished to 
provide feathers for ladies' hats. 

Hunting and fishing 
laws are created 
through public process. 

Federal, state, and provincial 
governments establish hunting 
and fishing seasons, set harvest 
limits, and define and levy penal- 
ties for violations. Everyone has 
an opportunity through elected 
officials, and through communi- 
cation with authorities, such as 
during public and town hall 
meetings, to help shape laws and 
regulations as they apply to 
wildlife management and conser- 

Wildlife can only be 
harvested for legitimate 

The killing of wildlife for frivolous 
reasons is unacceptable. "Legiti- 
mate purposes" include killing for 
food, fur, self-defense, and in some 
cases for protection of property. 
Many states follow the "Code of 
the Sportsman" as promulgated 
by naturalist and conservationist 
George Bird Grinnell over a hun- 
dred years ago that hunters use 
without waste any game 
they kill. 



"Plans to protect air and water, 

wilderness and wildlife are 
in fact plans to protect man/* 

-Stewart Udall 


"A thing is right when 
it tends to preserve 

the integrity, stability 

and beauty of the 

biotic community. 

It is wrong when 

it tends otherwise. " 

-Aldo Leopold 

♦ Wildlife are an 
international resource. 

Animals don't know or care about 
borders or territorial waters. Cana- 
da and the U.S. work closely to- 
gether to regulate and manage 
animals that cross borders by walk- 
ing, flying, or swimming. One of 
the finest examples of this critical 
cooperation is the Migratory Bird 
Treaty of 1916, followed by a num- 
ber of important treaties for every- 
thing from songbirds to waterfowl. 
Another is the Convention on Inter- 
national Trade in Endangered 
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, in 
which 175 countries take part. 

♦ Wildlife policy is based 
on science. 

Policy should not be based on poli- 
tics or raw emotion. In the early 
1930s Aldo Leopold and other con- 
cerned conservationists saw that in- 
formed decision-making in fish and 
wildlife management is critical to 

conservation. Unfortunately, all 
too often political appointees and 
others not trained in the sciences 
hold sway over the professionals 
in matters of conservation. 

♦ The democracy of 

European and other countries' 
practices allocate wildlife for 
hunting by land ownership, 
wealth, and other measures of 
privilege. In North America any 
citizen in good standing can par- 
ticipate in all facets of wildlife 
management, particularly as it 
pertains to hunting. Theodore 
Roosevelt, an avid hunter and a 
great conservationist, was an 
early proponent of the democra- 
cy of sport hunting. Since the in- 
ception of the North American 
model, hunters and anglers have 
borne the brunt of the responsi- 
bility of wildlife and fish manage- 
ment, including funding, to the 
benefit of the population at large. 

The Conservation Model 
in the 21 st Century 

"Perhaps the greatest challenge to the 
wildlife conservation model and the 
continued success of our country's wildlife 
management programs is to establish 
sustained funding by broadening the 
support base. To be sure, the model has 
served us well; however, the need for a 
more comprehensive approach to 
conservation and the absolute need for 
sustainable funding for such an approach 
is at hand. " 

-Bob Duncan 

Although the model is as valid today 
as ever, drastically changed circum- 
stances argue for some reform in 
order to keep pace. Reforms are 
being promulgated by renowned 
professional wildlife managers, and 
adequate, sustained funding is at the 
top of everyone's list. Fortunately, in 
the Old Dominion a small portion of 
the state sales tax on hunting, wildlife 



viewing, and fishing products goes to 
the DGIF to help supplement the fees 
and licenses paid by hunters, gun 
owners, trappers, and anglers; and 
we reap a benefit from the Pitrman- 
Robertson Wildlife Restoration 
funds. But current funding is not ade- 
quate to keep up with the ever-chang- 
ing times and evolving conservation 
challenges. New revenue sources 
need to be identified. 

In The Wildlife Society's Febru- 
ary 2010 issue of the Journal of Wildlife 
Management, in an article entitled "A 
Conservation Institution for the 21 st 
Century: Implications for State 
Wildlife Agencies," renowned 
wildlife scientists Cynthia Jacobson, 
John Organ, Daniel Decker, Gordon 
Batcheller, and Len Carpenter offered 
four considerations for reform of the 
wildlife conservation "Institution" to 
"secure the relevance of the Institu- 
tion into the future: broad-based 
funding, trustee-based governance, 
mulridisciplinary science as the basis 
of recommendations from profes- 
sional staff, and the involvement of 
diverse stakeholders and partners in 
the Institution." 

That a broader-based money 
source to move state agencies into the 
new century is essential has been ad- 
dressed somewhat above, and many 
options or combination of options 
exist to augment this all-important 
funding need. For example, if every- 
one pays for wildlife through a cen- 
tralized taxing system, all citizens 
would have "a standing with respect 
to input about management of 
wildlife as a public resource." 

The reform concerning trustee- 
based governance calls for a diminu- 
tion or dissolution of political 
authority over fish and wildlife 
trustees, a move not likely to be at all 
popular with elected and appointed 
officials. Simply stated, politicians 
must recognize that the public trust in 
wildlife management and conserva- 
tion needs to be apolitical. Jacobson 
and her co-authors argue the accom- 
plishment "of such reform in gover- 
nance likely can only be achieved 


"We do not 

inherit the earth 

from our 


we borrow it 

our children. " 

-Native American 

through advocacy of a strong coali- 
tion of partners willing to speak with 
one voice and exert the requisite po- 
litical pressure." 

Science must, as is stated in the 
wildlife conservation model, prevail 
in managing wildlife resources. It 
seems a blinding glimpse of the obvi- 
ous that decisions only should be 
made with the best available infor- 
mation on a given subject. In practice, 
however, narrow interpretation of 
limited information sometimes steers 
the effort in wrong directions. When 
opposing opinions in management 
matters occur, science must prevail. 

The authors assert the "iron tri- 
angle relationship" between resource 
management agencies, traditional 
user groups such as hunters and trap- 
pers, and policymakers excludes oth- 
ers not in the group from the 
decision-making process vis-a-vis 
wildlife management and conserva- 
tion. Thus, wildlife organizations, 
which do exemplary work under the 
wildlife conservation model, need to 
include input from "non-traditional 
partners" to accomplish their goals. 


". . .the nation behaves well if it treats the 
natural resources as assets which it must 
turn over to the next generation increased 
and not impaired in value. . . " 

-Theodore Roosevelt, 1919 

The North American Model of 
Wildlife Conservation is the world's 
most successful way to manage, reg- 
ulate, and conserve animals that we 
hunt, watch, photograph, or just 
enjoy knowing are there. While other 
countries struggle to conserve what 
little they have remaining, we enjoy 
an abundance of many desirable 
species — deer, wild turkeys, ducks 
and geese, to name a few. Adherence 
to the seven tenets of the model, cou- 
pled with prudent modification 
based on societal changes, will en- 
sure that we are able to do so in the 
future. □ 

King Montgomery, of Burke, is a frequent con- 
tributor to Virginia Wildlife and an ardent an- 
gler, outdoor ivriter, wildlife photographer, and 
occasional bird hunter. 

<r- < 

• -* 






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story by Tee Clarkson 
photos by Eric Rutherford 

irginia has as deep and rich a 
duck hunting tradition as 
anywhere in the United 
States. Brushing up against the 
Chesapeake Bay and the seemingly 
endless tributaries that feed it, the 
commonwealth boasts tremendous 
amounts of open water and marsh for 
resting and migrating fowl of all sorts. 
That's before even mentioning the 
Eastern Shore and its acres upon acres 
of marshes and agricultural fields 
flooded by ducks and geese each win- 
ter. Rivers like the Pamunkey, the 
Mattaponi, the Potomac, the Rappa- 
hannock, and the James have been 
gunned by Virginia hunters for as 
long as they have tossed out decoys 
and waited on ducks. Born of these 
traditions are many of today's 
hunters, those whose first guns came 

from grandfathers, those who grew 
up on stories of the "old days" in 
duck blinds that have since become 
wooden stakes scattered here and 
there, barely visible above the high 
tide line. 

Duck call maker and avid water- 
fowler Brian Watkins is one of those 
hunters. His father and grandfather 
grew up in Poquoson, hunting the 
Chesapeake Bay and surrounding 
marshes. By the time he was six, 
Brian was calling ducks in the creek 
behind his house. At ten he was com- 
peting in and winning junior calling 
competitions. Before long, Brian's fa- 
ther, a retired aerospace engineer, 
was teaching him how to turn wood, 
and Brian was cutting the reeds for 
his first duck calls from milk jugs. 

Brian's grandfather was a water- 
man, so Brian spent plenty of time 
with him on the water growing up. 
One of his many jobs was bagging 
clams during the summer months 

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Brian makes his calls in the workshop behind 
the evenings after the kids are in bed. 

when he was out of school. By the time 
Brian was old enough to start hunting, 
his grandfather didn't go afield very 
much anymore. In fact, they hunted 
together just one time, but Brian still 
remembers fondly his grandfather on 
Thanksgiving and Christmas, when 
the family would gather for a meal, lis- 
tening to the stories he told of his re- 
cent hunts with his father. Brian still 
lives in Poquoson, within a few miles' 
radius of most of his relatives, with his 
wife Kristin and his two boys, Troy 
and Cole. Troy is excited by the 
prospect of hunting with his father, al- 
though at age five it will be a few years 



use. That's usually where you'll find him in 

down the road. Already, he anxiously 
awaits hunting stories from Brian 
when he returns from the watery 
marshes of the Bay 

Last season, I was fortunate to 
have the opportunity to hunt with 
Brian a few days after Christmas. We 
met at the boat ramp an hour before 
dawn. The forecast was calling for 
cold temperatures and heavy winds; 
good conditions for waterfowling. 

After a short run to his blind, we 
began setting decoys. We placed a 
couple dozen geese first and then set 
three or four dozen diver decoys in a 
hook. We finished with a group of 

mallards a little closer to the blind. 
Not used to putting out such a big 
spread, I was amazed how quickly 
we were able to get it set — a testa- 
ment to Brian's organization and at- 
tention to detail when it comes to 
waterfowling, the same skill set that 
makes his duck calls so effective. 

With fifteen minutes left before 
shooting time, Brian, photographer 
and friend Eric Rutherford, and I 
stood in the blind drinking coffee 
and breathing in the anticipation that 
comes with the first hint of light. As 
shooting time arrived, we watched 
several knots of divers as they swept 
across the bay like a swarm of bees. 
They were not headed our direction, 
but it was nice to see there were some 
birds around. As is often the case 
when everyone is fixated on some- 
thing in the distance, whether it is a 
boat or a turkey roosting in a pine, a 
single duck came gliding over the 
blind and surprised us all. Brian 
quickly hit a comeback call, and the 
duck banked into the wind. After one 
more pass and another comeback 
call, the hen mallard set her wings 
and pitched toward Eric's end of the 
spread. He knocked her down just at 
the edge of the decoys. We were off to 
a good start. 

Brian made his first duck call 
when he was 12. "We didn't have the 
Internet back then of course," said 
Brian, now 34. "It was a self-taught 
discipline. I learned from trial and 
error. Back then I wasn't as con- 
cerned about how the calls sounded. 
It was just fun." 

Before long Brian started win- 
ning competitions with his calls. He 

gave a lot of the early calls away to 
local hunters and friends before ulti- 
mately starting to sell a few, as word 
got out. Now, he turns out anywhere 
from 350 to 500 calls a year from his 
work station in the shed behind his 
house. Still, Brian makes calls be- 
cause he loves to do it. While it is a 
nice side business for him, he doesn't 
have any plans to quit his day job as a 
fisheries biologist with the Virginia 
Institute of Marine Science. 

"I wouldn't want to have to sell 
the next call to feed my family, Brian 
admitted. "That takes on a whole 
new element." 

While the hunt had gotten off to a 
fast start with a bird in hand after just 
a few minutes, the next several hours 
yielded nothing but a few sightings 
far in the distance. 

"This article may end up being 
mostly about Jonah," Brian said, al- 
luding to the biblical character swal- 
lowed by a whale, and now a name 

Brian makes both single and double reed 
calls. If you want one custom tuned, stop 
by and he will be happy to tinker with it. 

Brian's passion for duck hunting has never waned since he was a kid growing up on the Chespeake Bay. If duck season is in, 
odds are Brian is in a blind or a boat somewhere searching for the next flock of birds. 

associated with anyone believed to 
bring bad luck to those around them. 
I didn't know whether he was refer- 
ring to me or Eric, but I was fairly 
confident it was Eric, as he had re- 
ceived most of the morning's ribbing 
for being a duck hunter from the 
mountains. The two have known 
each other long enough that they 
pass as many insults as compliments, 
a sure sign of a good friendship. 

With the air free of birds for a 
while, they launched into stories 
from their days together at Virginia 
Tech. The best of which being one 
Brian told about a cookout he and 
some of his friends had in college. 
They were cooking oysters on the 
grill when several guys they had in- 
vited from near Abingdon, where 
Eric lives, showed up. "They took 
one look at those oysters on the grill," 
Brian started to chuckle, "and said 
what in the world are y'all doin' with 
them rocks?" I was still laughing 
when I heard the first honks from be- 
hind the blind. 

They sounded close at first, but 
looking up we noticed the large 
group of roughly 70 geese were still 
very high, with seemingly no inten- 
tion of coming down. 

"Might as well try 'em," Brian 
said, grabbing the goose call on his 
lanyard. Remarkably, with some 
loud and convincing calling, he and 
Eric managed to split the birds into 
two groups, pulling one down closer 
and closer toward our spread. It 
seemed like it took them forever, but 
eventually they circled a last time 
and came right in. We stood and 
dropped five from the group of what 
had to be pushing 35 or 40 birds. 

By now it was "blowin' a gale" as 
Brian put it, and he jumped in the 
boat and picked up the birds, a diffi- 
cult task for one person with the 
winds gusting at 30 miles an hour. By 
the time he returned it was getting 
along toward that time in the morn- 
ing when our odds of having any 
more shooting were growing in- 
creasingly slim. We gave it another 30 

minutes and then started picking up 
the decoys. 

I am of the school that adheres to 
the idea that success in any outdoor 
pursuit should never be measured in 
numbers; however, I could recognize 
that this day would feel far different 
without those geese in the bag. They 
had saved the Jonah, whether me or 
Eric, and provided Brian with a good 
story for Troy this particular night; a 
story, no doubt, that would stoke the 
fire that burns in the heart of a future 
waterfowler, one who perhaps will 
soon be calling ducks in the creeks 
near Poquoson with a handmade call 
of his own and little brother Cole tag- 
ging alongside him. □ 

Tee Clarkson is an English teacher at Deep Run 
Higli School in Henrico Co. and runs Virginia 
Fishing Adventures, a fishing camp for kids: 

For information on Brian's duck calls, 



A State-of-the-Art Hatchery 

Lee Walker 


am a full-time firefighter with two young 
children, so my time on the water is fairly lim- 
ited. And yet I can't seem to help myself 
when I pass over a bridge or by a farm pond: I 
have to jump out and try to spot fish. I don't actu- 
ally have time to try to catch them — but I like to 
see them, nonetheless. So when I heard that the 
Department had recently renovated a hatchery 
in beautiful Bath County, I needed little encour- 
agement to check it out. 

"They're hungry this morning," announced 
Eric Wooding as we made our way toward sever- 
al round steel tanks, each about four feet high 
and 20 feet across — and each holding hundreds 
of various types of trout. The plastic bucket he 
was carrying made a ticking sound as it brushed 
the side of his leg; the contact also caused the feed 
to shift in the bucket. The fish must have either 
heard the feed shifting or felt the vibration of our 
approaching footsteps because, by the time we 
reached the side of the tank, I could see what an- 
glers describe as "nervous water" as the fish jock- 
eyed for position. Wooding dug a red plastic 
scoop into the bucket and threw some feed into 
the tank, which exploded with countless hungry 
trout. I was clearly enjoying myself, so Wooding 
humored me and threw in another scoop of feed. 
The water exploded again, and this time the 
splashing doused us both. 

The Coursey Springs hatchery will raise nearly 700,000 trout for 
anglers across Virginia. 


Coursey Springs 
By the Numbers 

The Coursey Springs Fish Cultural Station 
raises approximately 700,000 rainbow, 
brown, and brook trout a year. The fish 
arrive as young fry from other state 
hatcheries and are ready to be released 
when they are 10-12 inches long. It can 
take up to a year for a trout to grow large 
enough to be stocked. The fish are fed 3 
to 5 times a day, depending on their age 
and other biological needs. The fish are 
raised in tanks that are between 20 and 
40 feet wide and that hold as many as 
28,000 gallons of water each. The facility 
cost $13 million to build and was con- 
structed in only 18 months. The Coursey 
Springs hatchery stocks trout in ten sur- 
rounding counties and is open seven 
days a week to the general public. Please 
call ahead (540-925-2343) so that staff 
members can arrange for someone to 
meet you when you visit. 

Feeding time at the hatchery is cause 
for great excitement among the trout. 

Wooding supervises operations 
at the Coursey Springs Fish Cultural 
Station. He and his assistant, Bryan 
Decker, were preparing to feed their 
finned charges when I arrived. The 
feed bags, which the two men load 
into the hatchery pickup truck them- 
selves, easily weigh one hundred 
pounds apiece. Hundreds of bags of 
feed are stacked in the small ware- 
house onsite, and Wooding and 
Decker both check carefully to ensure 
that the fish in each tank get the prop- 
er mix of feed according to their age 
and condition. Each bag is coded and 
tagged before it leaves the ware- 
house. In a typical month, Wooding 
and Decker may go through 30,000 
pounds of fish food. 

Wooding and Decker sort the 
feed for each type of fish according to 
size and biological needs: "We don't 

just throw any old feed pellets to our 
fish; we're very precise in controlling 
their diets to keep them healthy and 
to help them reach maturity as soon 
as possible." 

Each year thousands of anglers 
access public waters in Virginia in 
hopes of wiling away a few quiet 
hours, enjoying the solitude of the 
outdoors — and perhaps even bring 
home a trout or two for dinner. Hatch- 
eries like Coursey Springs stock pub- 
lic waters precisely so that anglers 
have the opportunity to go home with 
their catch, but they also buttress a 
stream's population when it gets too 
low. It's a common misconception 
that the commonwealth "just dumps" 
fish into any coldwater stream that 
might support trout. This is simply 
not the case: Officials stock through- 
out the year and time the stockings to 
ensure that fish have the best chance 
of survival. The fish might live for 
many years, so choosing the right 
stream or river is important. 

Hatchery staff and state biolo- 
gists work together to ensure that 
streams that support native fish like 
brook trout aren't stocked with 
brown trout. Different trout have dif- 
ferent needs and tolerance levels, and 
stockings allow for changes in a river 
over time. If, for example, a stream 
warms because of heavy develop- 
ment in its watershed or some unusu- 
al natural event, biologists may 
determine that although the stream 
can no longer support rainbows the 
elevated temperature would not ad- 
versely affect brown trout. 

Coursey Springs even raises ster- 
ile fish for stock that they can use as a 
control group to test the health of a 
stream. If it's determined that the ster- 
ile fish are not a good fit, they eventu- 
ally die off. And as it's impossible for 
them to reproduce, there is no threat 
of mating occurring between hatch- 
ery and wild populations. 

In spite of its clearcut mission, the 
hatchery's remote location presented 
a challenge for renovation work. 
"We're not near the interstate," 
Wooding pointed out, "and as a re- 
sult, by the time any concrete arrived 



it would have been in the trucks too 
long to use." To overcome this obsta- 
cle, the general contractor on the pro- 
ject, Lantz Construction from the 
town of Broadway, created its own 
miniature onsite concrete plant and 
poured nearly 2,800 yards of con- 
crete. "Lantz Construction was great 
about checking ahead to see if a prob- 
lem loomed on the horizon and 
worked with us to make changes ac- 
cordingly." This coordinated effort 
between all parties kept the job on 
time and, surprisingly, on budget. 

In general, all hatcheries suffer 
the loss of fish from predation or 
from disease, or both, and all hatch- 
eries have to handle waste appropri- 
ately. Coursey Springs addresses 
both problems. A roof covers the fa- 
cility, which prevents predation from 
above (by birds, most obviously). 
Fencing surrounds the hatchery, pre- 
venting minks, possums, and even 
bears from helping themselves to a 
taxpayer- financed meal. The result of 
these upgrades is that Coursey 
Springs loses only about 2 percent of 
its fish to disease or predation. 

A 40-micron filter serves to re- 
move any waste from the water. Any- 
thing larger than 40 microns is sent to 
an onsite settling tank. Large parti- 
cles are pumped out to trucks and 
used as fertilizer on nearby farms. 
The system is so efficient that the 
hatchery can recycle as many as 3,500 
gallons of water a minute. 

Fishing at the hatchery? 

Running alongside Coursey Springs 
is beautiful Spring Run, which re- 
ceives the clean effluent from the 
hatchery. Spring Run itself recently 
received a facelift when the Depart- 
ment placed downed trees in and 
along the banks to hold them in 
place. The trees, inserted "head first" 
with their roots exposed and hanging 
into the water, also serve as spectacu- 
lar shelter for the stocked trout. 

Anglers can fish Spring Run, 
which sits just below the hatchery, 
starting in January and can access it 
easily from Indian Draft Road. The 
stream will be a catch-and-release- 

only location where anglers may use 
only single-hook artificial lures. I 
plan to fish Spring Run myself just as 
soon as I can. Even if I come up 
empty-handed, I can tour the hatch- 
ery and get my fill of fish. □ 

Beau Beasley is the director of the Virginia Fly 
Fishing Festival, loww.vaflyfishingfestival 
His new book, Fly Fishing the Mid-Atlantic, 

Top, Spring Run is a new catch-and- 
release fishery just south of Coursey 
Springs. Above, hatchery staff and 
CWF volunteers prepare to stock the 
South River at Grottoes. 




the gift 

of nature 

story and photos by Gail Brown 

ere come the holidays! 
I And not surprisingly, 
* good citizens from Bris- 
tol to Hampton — punctual in most 
matters — will find themselves 
caught between the eggnog and the 
pecan pie with no gift in hand. 

Except for the teacher's gift; 
everyone's ready with that one. And 
none more so than volunteers Jody 
Turner, Barbara Dunbar, and Teresa 
Bennett, creators of Estuaries to 
Oceans, a science field trip experience 
given each year by these moms to 
fifth grade students and teachers of 
York County. While Turner, Dunbar, 
and Bennett have volunteered for 
years leading after-school science 
clubs and establishing outdoor class- 
rooms, they had never before at- 
tempted anything of this magnitude. 

Yet, like a Christmas cactus suddenly 
in bloom, Estuaries to Oceans seemed 
to appear without effort. That, of 
course, is not how it happened at all. 
In 2009, giving themselves only 
75 days to get it all in place, Turner, 
Dunbar, and Bennett wrote and re- 
ceived a grant from the Virginia De- 
partment of Environmental Quality 
(DEQ) / Virginia Naturally Partner- 
ship grant program. Using grant 
funds carefully, they purchased ma- 
terials that could be reused and 
begged and borrowed the rest. (Chil- 
dren's rooms were looted; husbands' 
golf equipment and tackle boxes 
were all fair game.) If their time was 
short, their focus was clear: All fifth 
grade students and teachers at 
Seaford Elementary School would be 
given a science field trip designed to 
awaken their curiosity about nature 
and reconnect them with the natural 
world. The first field trip, planned for 


Far left, York County Master Gardener 
Patsy Wells helps students measure 
and compare water quality indicators 
such as pH and dissolved oxygen. 
Handheld electronic field equipment 
and water testing kits are used by the 

Left, while PVC pipe, frisbees, velcro 
strips, and connectors are provided, 
each participant must supply the 
creativity needed to solve the 
problem at hand. The challenge: 
build a buoy that can float and 
support a cargo of golf balls. 


\ /Naturally 

Retired William and Mary Geology Professor Dr. Jerre Johnson makes learning fun 
by asking challenging questions and sharing stories about the geology and history 
of Virginia. Each child received a Jefferson scallop, the official state fossil. 

April, would serve as a template for 
future programs. 

Seaford Elementary, a first-year 
Virginia Naturally School, is locat- 
ed adjacent to 600 acres of forested 
wetlands owned by The Nature 
Conservancy. The conservancy 
joined the many other organiza- 
tions committed to helping Estuar- 
ies to Oceans by granting permission 
to use the wetlands for extended 
nature walks. Seaford students re- 
cycle, maintain several gardens that 
are wildlife habitats, and partici- 
pate in PTA-sponsored Earth Day 
activities. As part of the team, 
Seaford would welcome other 
county schools to their campus to 
participate in future Estuaries to 
Oceans programs. Last year Mount 
Vernon Elementary was the first to 
do so. 

To date, almost 300 students 
have participated in Estuaries to 


John Lewis from the Jamestown 4-H Center helps students learn about native 
animals they might see in a forested wetland. 

Freshwater macroinvertebrates are 
borrowed and returned (with a DGIF 
permit) from a nearby waterway. 
Students use a variety of methods to 
identify the animals and then share 
theirfindings with the group. 

Oceans field trips. All field trips fol- 
low the same format: Students rotate 
through six to seven different activity 
stations which are led by community 
volunteers with backgrounds in sci- 
ence and by representatives from 
local and state agencies. While access 
to the wetland offers unbelievable 
opportunities to discover nature's se- 
crets, "No matter where you are, at 
school or in your own backyard, 
there is so much to see and learn from 
nature," states Turner. 

Assistant Principal Christina 
Head has first-hand experience with 
the program both as an administrator 
and as a parent. Her daughter partici- 
pated in the program last year and 
her son is looking forward to his turn. 
"My child and others were given an 
opportunity to see and understand 
things in nature they normally 
wouldn't have noticed. My family 

was given an opportunity to have a 
rich conversation about environmen- 
tal issues at the dinner table. It was 
like we all received a special gift." 

And those three moms who 
brought the gift to school? They're 
pretty special, too. □ 

Gail Brown is a retired teacher and scliool 

With guidance from Lisa Deaton, 
Virginia Department of Forestry, 
students identify area trees. Each 
child received a tree identification 
guide to continue their research at 



2010-2011 Outdoor 
Calendar of Events 

Unless otherwise noted, for current infor- 
mation and registration on workshops go 
to the "Upcoming Events" page on our 
website at or call 

December 10-11: Youth Deer Hunting 
Workshop, Claytor Lake State Park. 
For youth 12-17 who have never har- 
vested a deer with a muzzleloader. 

December 11: Novice Youth Deer 
Hunt and Workshop, Occoquan Bay 
National Wildlife Refuge. For youth 
12-18 with less than 3 years hunting 

December 14-January 5: Audubon 
Christmas Bird Count. For more 
information: http:/ /birds. audubon. 

You Can Make 
a Difference 



Hunters for the Hungry receives do- 
nated deer from successful 
hunters and funds to cover the costs of 
processing, so that venison may be dis- 
tributed to those in need across the 
state. Each $40 contribution allows an- 
other deer to be accepted. Hunters do- 
nating an entire deer are not required 
to pay any part of the processing fee. 
The David Home Hunger Relief Bill 
gives hunters the opportunity to do- 
nate $2 or more to the program when 
purchasing a hunting license. One hun- 
dred percent of each donation goes to 
providing venison to the hungry. For 
additional information or to make a 
donation, visit or 
call 1-800-352-HUNT (4868). Each of 
us can make a difference. 

by Beth Hester 

In That Sweet Country: 
Uncollected Writings of 
Harry Middleton 

Selected by Ron Ellis 
2010 Skyhorse Publishing 
Hardcover $29.95 

"After twilight, we gather up our gear, 
walk back down the logging road toward 
the truck, thinking of the evening, the 
swirling pool, the gorgeous trout, the light 
glistening off the pool before dusk like 
starlight. Beside us, as we reach the truck, 
the river runs on, a low, roaring sound in 
the darkness. " 

-Harry Middleton 

Readers of such publications as The 
New York Times, Sports Illustrated, 
Southern Living, Gray's Sporting Jour- 
nal, and Field & Stream will recognize 
the name Harry Middleton. Though 
he died prematurely of a massive 
heart attack in 1993, Middleton was a 
sportsman and distinguished writer 
who left behind hundreds of richly- 
detailed personal essays, stories, and 
reviews. Especially beloved are his 
carefully crafted portraits of favorite 
sporting landscapes and the rich, 
quirky characters who inhabit them. 

His interests were ecumenical in 
flavor and his subject matter, wide- 
ranging: fly-fishing the mountain 
streams of southern Appalachia, au- 
tumn gobblers and wing bone calls, 
the relative merits of graphite and 
bamboo rods, eccentric crow behav- 
ior, an angler's daydreams, sudden 

storms. Though highly individualis- 
tic, Middleton's work is in the best 
tradition of writers such as Taylor, 
Buckingham, McGuane, and Gierach. 

Now, thanks to the efforts of Ron 
Ellis and Middleton's widow, Marcy, 
In That Sweet Country is a publishing 
achievement, a compilation of previ- 
ously uncollected fishing and hunt- 
ing tales, nature profiles, and 
personal recollections. It's a real treat 
for Middleton fans who were left 
wanting more. 

Since the month of December 
ushers in the winter holidays — a time 
for friends, family, and inner reflec- 
tion — this inspiring volume is appro- 
priate seasonal reading and makes a 
perfect gift for the thoughtful 
sportsperson in your life. 

To close out 2010, I present you 
with Middleton's lovely meditation 
on trout fishing: 

"Atnong fish, trout are a luxury, 
beautiful prima donnas worth every trick, 
bit of tomfoolery, gadget, and deceit it 
might take to hook one. It's exciting to feel 
its power and grace, however briefly, be- 
fore removing the hook, gently nudging 
its iridescent flanks, watching it return to 
the deep) pool, or fast water of a mountain 
stream, the world inhere it inexorably be- 
longs. And as for me, perhaps next season, 
I will slip off the waders, slip on my shorts 
and tennis shoes, and tie on a No. 14 
Adams. 1 will settle back, and take what- 
ever splendor and trout the days might 
bring. " 

Happy Holidays! □ 

To learn more about Find Game, visit 





Wondering what to do over the 

The Virginia Outdoor Writers 
Association annually sponsors 
two writing competitions for Vir- 
ginia high school students (grades 
9-12) and undergraduate students 
attending a Virginia college or uni- 
versity. Awards of gift certificates, 
outdoors gear, and cash are offered 
for winning entries. 

Go to for con- 
test guidelines, the submission 
deadline, and other details. Then 
grab some paper or a laptop and 
get to work! 


Wishes to thank everyone on staff 
who helped to make the 2010 
magazine series a success! To 
those of you who reviewed con- 
tent for accuracy, or caught typos, 
or perfected captions, or simply 
provided valuable feedback (you 
know who you are), please accept 
my deep appreciation for your 

Are Limited, 
So Order 
Yours Today 

As always, the calendar features spectacular photography and useful information to the 
outdoors enthusiast, including hunting seasons, favorable hunting and fishing times, 
wildlife behavior, state fish records, and more! 

Make your check payable to 
"Treasurer of Virginia"and send to: 
Virginia Wildiife Calendar 
P.O. Box 11104 
Richmond, VA 23230-1104 

To pay by VISA or MasterCard, you may 
order online at 
on our secure site. Please allow 4 to 6 
weeks for delivery. 

•«- >^r yvy -ir** **>. «*- yr F l "'*'P" 

j? Cata 

Sally Mills 

2010 Limited Edition 

Virginia Wildlife Collector's Knife 

Our 2010 Collector's Knife has been customized by Buck Knives 
and features a bobwhite quail in flight. The elegant, solid cherry 
box features a field scene. Knives and boxes, made in USA. 

Item # VW-410 

$90.00 (plus $7.25 S&H) 


Limited Edition 
Virginia Wildlife 1 ' 
Collector's Knife j 

To Order visit the Department's website at: or call (804) 367-2569. 
Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery. 

Our 2009 Collector's Knife (customized by Buck Knives) features a wild turkey in 
full strut. The elegant, solid cherry box features a forest scene. Knives and boxes, 
made in USA. 


$85.00 (plus $7.25 S&H) 



United States Postal Service 

Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation 

Publication Title: Virginia Wildlife 

Publication Number: 0042-6792 

Filing Date: 10-05-2010 

Issue Frequency: Monthly 

Number of Issues Published Annually: 12 

Annual Subscription Price: $12.95 

Complete Mailing Address: 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230 

Contact Person: Sally Mills, Editor, Telephone 804-367-0486 

Full Names of Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor, and Managing Editor: Sally Mills: Virginia Wildlife, 

4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230. 

Owner: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230 

Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 percent or More of Total Amount 

of Bonds, Mortgages or Other Securities: None 

Tax Status: Has Not Changed During Preceding 12 Months 

Publication Title: Virginia Wildlife 

Issue Data for Circulation Data Below: September 2010 

Extent and Nature Of Circulation 

Total Number of Copies 

Mailed Outside-County Paid Subscriptions 

Stated on PS Form 3541 

Mailed In-County Paid Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 

Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, 

Counter Sales, and Other Non-USPS Paid Distribution 

Paid Distribution by Other Classes Through USPS 

Total Paid Distribution 

Free or Nominal Rate Outside-County Included on 

PS Form 3541 

Free or Nominal Rate In-County Included on 

PS Form 3541 

Free or Nominal Rate Copies Mailed at 

Other Classes Through USPS 

Free or Nominal Rate Distribution Outside the Mail 

Total Free or Nominal Rate Distribution 

Total Distribution 

Copies Not Distributed 


Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation 

Avg No. Copies Each Issue 
During Preceding 12 Months 

No. Copies of Single Issue 
Published Nearest to Filing Date 





rm 3541 None 





















"Looks like I missed three calls of the wild." 



December 14— January 5 
Get Involved! ^ 



1. Holiday fir tree 
3. Tall medieval bow 
6. Tawny brown heron 

8. Breakwater, defense, earthwork 

9. State fish (nickname) 
10. Puffball tuft, weed 

13. Bullet force exerted on target 

16. Smallest animal in herd 

17. Tropical wading bird with 
curved bill 

1 9. Caldron, boiler for outdoor 

20. Water lily 

21. Young bird, fledgling 

24. Crest of breaking wave over 

25. Seek game with arrows 

27. Catch sight of, glimpse 
(old English) 

28. Art or practice of employing 

29. Retrieval, reclaiming boat 
31. Let go of arrow of bow 


1 . Hardwood with gray bark; 
small edible nuts 

2. Animals indentification ring 

3. Type of retriever, abbr. 

4. Mushroom shelf on trunk 

5. Animal under age two 

6. Scientist working w/plant life 

7. Boat easily tipped; associated 
with a yacht 

Related to Whip-poor-will (pi.) 
Exact imitator of other avian 

3-leaf plant causing itchy skin 
rash (2 words) 

1 5. Swamp tree with knees 
1 8. Aggregated elements of a 

22. Female bear 

23. Natural scenery 
26. Deer foot 

30. Code on firearm 






Fiscal Year 201 

(July 1 , 2009 - June 30, 201 0) 











Interfund Transfers 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is primarily 
funded through dedicated, special revenues. Some operat- 
ing revenue comes to the Department through nongame 
contributions and other miscellaneous sources. About 43% 
of our operational revenue comes from the sale of hunting 
and fishing licenses; approximately 18% comes from trans- 
fers via the watercraft sales and use tax and House Bill 38; 
nearly 26% comes from federal grants; about 6% from boat 
registration and titling; and close to 7% from other sources. 




The Department uses a mission-focused budget divided 
into four functional areas: recreation (providing opportuni- 
ties to enjoy wildlife and inland fish, including hunting and 
harvesting game, fishing, boating, and wildlife watching); 
education (promoting safety afield and appreciation for fish 
and wildlife resources); environmental diversity (manag- 
ing habitat and populations of game and nongame 
species); and administration (improving agency funding 
and managing operations). 



Federal Grants 


Dam Safety 

Revenue Bonds 

Capital Program Revenues are federal grants and Com- 
monwealth of Virginia Revenue Bonds that are directly relat- 
ed to a capital project. The balance of the Department's 
capital expenditures is funded using revenue from opera- 
tions or the Department's cash balance. 


Capital Program Expenditures are long-term construction 
projects, infrastructure improvements, and land purchases. 
The Department classifies these expenditures into three 
categories: acquisitions, dam safety, and stewardship 



Looking Ahead 

The Department's financial sustain- 
ability is a topic agency leaders 
have discussed with key audiences, 
namely a 36-member Agency Adviso- 
ry Group (which represents 300,000 an- 
glers, boaters, conservationists, 
hunters, and wildlife watchers) and the 
Virginia Legislative Sportsmen's Cau- 
cus. For those who have not participat- 
ed in these conversations, the 
following information will help 
demonstrate the agency's strong stew- 
ardship of the sportsmen's dollar. 

Current Finances are Sound 

The Board of Game and Inland Fish- 
eries voted in June to approve a bal- 
anced FY2011 (fiscal year July 1, 
2010-June 30, 2011) budget that would 
allow the Department (DGIF) to deliv- 
er services, invest in infrastructure, and 
maintain cash balances. The agency is 
proud to have accomplished a great 
deal by: 

♦ Increasing outdoor opportunities; 

♦ Improving customer service; 

♦ Saving money; and 

♦ Garnering additional revenue 
from non-sportsmen sources. 

Since approval of the current 
budget, additional costs have been 
identified. The mandated 3% bonus for 
all state employees and VITA rate in- 
creases will require DGIF to use rough- 
ly $1.5 million cash. 

Future Funding Lacking 

While current finances are sound, the 
future is less certain. Forecasts show in- 
creasing costs and decreasing rev- 
enues. DGIF will need to use 
additional cash balances to pay for op- 
erations. As a result, three years from 
now the agency will have insufficient 
revenue and cash to continue current 
levels of service. 


Under consideration are actions to 
secure financial sustainability. The 
Board has complete accountability for 
our financial health, but limited au- 
thority. Using the few tools available, 
the Board agreed with staff's recom- 
mendations to propose the following 
regulations during their October meet- 

♦ Create a fee to use Department- 
owned public fishing lakes and 
wildlife management areas. A user 
with a valid hunting, fishing, or 
trapping license, or boat registra- 
tion, or under 16 years of age will 
be exempt. 

♦ Raise license fees any amount up 
to and including the statutory limit 
of $5 each for resident licenses and 
$50 each for non-resident licenses. 

The Department is seeking public 
input on these proposals. An extended 
120-day public comment period begins 
on December 16, 2010 and runs 
through April 14, 2011. That affords cit- 
izens an opportunity to share ideas and 
better inform Board decisions. There 
will be a Board meeting during that 
timeframe, scheduled for March 1, 
2011, so that the public can speak before 
Board members. Final action on these 
proposals may occur in May 2011 with 
a potential effective date of July 1, 2011. 

These proposals were not made 
lightly. DGIF leaders understand that 
some current customers may pay more 
in the future and some people enjoying 
agency services at no cost today may 
begin paying for them. The Depart- 
ment is committed to continually im- 
proving the public's experiences in the 
outdoors and is seeking creative meas- 
ures to secure our growth and well- 

- Matt Koch, Chief Operating Officer 

Mission Statement 

To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland 
fish to maintain optimum populations of all 
species to serve the needs of the Com- 
monwealth; To provide opportunity for all to 
enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and relat- 
ed outdoor recreation and to work diligently 
to safeguard the rights of the people to 
hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for 
in the Constitution of Virginia; To promote 
safety for persons and property in connec- 
tion with boating, hunting and fishing; To 
provide educational outreach programs 
and materials that foster an awareness of 
and appreciation for Virginia's fish and 
wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunt- 
ing, fishing, and boating opportunities. 

Department Goals 

• Provide for optimum populations 
and diversity of wildlife species 
and their habitats 

• Enhance opportunities for the en- 
joyment of wildlife, inland fish, 
boating, and related outdoor 

• Improve the understanding and 
appreciation of the importance of 
wildlife, inland fish, and their habi- 

• Promote safe and ethical conduct 
in the enjoyment of boating, hunt- 
ing, fishing, wildlife viewing, and 
related outdoor recreation 

• Improve agency funding and other 
resources and effectively manage 
all resources and operations 

For more information: 


Jt is a hard sleet that slaps against 
the window on a stormy Decem- 
ber evening. The wind shuffles the 
roof shingles like a sticky deck of 
playing cards. My roommate, aka 
hunting partner, has a nice fire going 
in the fireplace and I have parked my 
stern as close to it as I can. But it's 
hard to enjoy the sleepy, hickory 
smoke aroma while the man of the 
house is frantically scampering about 
trying to get things in order for a 
duck hunt in the morning. I say 
morning, but if you have ever been 
duck or goose hunting, you know 
you are in the blind or standing knee- 
deep in a beaver pond long before 
any man or beast would call it morn- 
ing. In fact, there are times when I 
have gone into a swamp so early I 
have met coonhounds coming out. 
But I am getting ahead of myself. 

The reason there is so much con- 
fusion tonight is that the man I duck 
hunt with has again procrastinated 
and failed to keep any of the promis- 
es he made to himself at the end of 
last season. He was going to clean his 
gun and make sure any gunk from 
last year's hunts would not cause his 
gun to jam, like the time when 17 
mallards came into his decoys and 
nearly landed on his hat. He was 
going to make sure that he took the 20- 
gauge birdshot out of his hunting 
coat and replace it with the 12-gauge 
steel shot. He was going to put new 
batteries in his flashlight. He was 
going to replace the thermos top he 
dropped into the brink while trying 
to pour coffee and hold a shotgun at 
the same time. He was going to fill the 
car up with gas so he wouldn't be 
looking for an open service station at 

3 in the morning. He was going to un- 
tangle all the decoy lines so that he 
wouldn't be doing that in the dark at 
5. He was going to get his HIP number 
to put on his hunting license — which 
is required to hunt migratory water- 
fowl. He was going to patch the hole 
just below his hip pocket in his 
waders so they would not fill up with 
ice cold water as he stood shaking 
like a martini mixer during the hunt. 

Patching that hole also would 
prevent repeating last year's most 
embarrassing moment. Because he 
didn't want to drive home sitting in 
wet clothes, he removed his pants, 
put them in the trunk of his car, and 
drove home in his boxers. This was 
an admirable and logical idea, except 
for the fact he did not plan on a state 
police license check about a mile 
from his house. It appears that cer- 
tain uniformed humans frown on 
other humans when a certain amount 
of fabric is not covering a certain 
amount of the epidermis of the other. 
Of course he had to present his dri- 
ver's license, but his license was in 
his wallet, which was in his pants, 
which were in the trunk of the car. 

It is simply amazing the number 
of people who knew him — who just 
happened to drive by — as he stood in 
his skivvies talking to that state 
trooper! And it is doubly amazing 
that his own wife didn't seem to rec- 
ognize him as she slowly passed his 
car on the way to work. 

Keep a leg up, 

Luke is a black Labrador retriever who spends 
his spare time hunting up good stories with Ins 
best friend, Clarke C. Jones. You can contact 

River Day 

Sixth graders from King William 
spent a day at Sandy Point State For- 
est on the Mattaponi River in Octo- 
ber, getting to know the watershed 
through meaningful, hands-on ac- 
tivities. Students rotated among 
teaching stations to learn about wet- 
lands soils, fish seining, water quali- 
ty monitoring, tree identification, 
river history, wildlife, and more. 
"River Day" was made possible 
through a partnership between the 
Mattaponi & Pamunkey Rivers As- 
sociation and the King William Mid- 
dle School. Successful outreach to 
some 180 students is due to the dedi- 
cation of teachers, volunteers, staff 
of the state's natural resource agen- 
cies, and the National Park Service. 
Employees of the Department's 
King & Queen Fish Cultural Station 
were on hand to instruct some very 
excited up-and-coming anglers. □ 




by Lynda Richardson 

Another Season of Holiday Wishes! 

/cannot believe December is here al- 
ready! Wow. I'd better check my gift 
list and make sure that everyone is cov- 
ered. To assist you with your holiday 
list, I've come up with some suggestions 
that will, hopefully, help you find the 
perfect gift for that photographer in 
your life. 

Everyone who uses a digital cam- 
era needs extra batteries; particularly for 
their hot-shoe-mounted flashes. I rec- 
ommend rechargeable batteries. Not 
only do they perform better and longer, 
they are more gentle on the environ- 
ment since you are re-using them, as op- 
posed to tossing them out after drained 
of power. I use the Powerex 2700 AA 
rechargeable batteries. They can be pur- 
chased locally through Batteries Plus or 
online at Thomas Distributing Battery 
Supply and Electronics. I bought mine 
online from Thomas (item number K- 
C204F-27-T) and the package included 
four Maha Powerex 2700 AA NiMH bat- 
teries, a AA-AAA Smart Battery Charg- 
er, a battery tester, a 12V DC cord, and a 
black storage bag — all for $29.97 plus 
shipping. A bargain in my book! Check 
it out at: www. 

Another great gift idea is the Hood- 
man HoodLoupe Professional 3" LCD 
Screen Loupe, as described in the Octo- 
ber 2010 Photo Tips column. When 
shooting in bright light, this device sur- 
rounds the LCD screen, making it easier 
to review photographs. This loupe 
works most efficiently with the 3" LCD 
screen cameras. You can purchase the 
Hoodloupe through various camera 
shops, including B & H Camera & Video 
and Hunt's Photo, for $79 plus ship- 
ping. Go to: or 

How about giving the gift of a pho- 
tography workshop! Many local camera 
shops including Richmond Camera 
offer a variety of classes on topics such 
as using your on-camera flash, studio 
portrait lighting, and basic composition. 
Check out local camera clubs, art muse- 
ums, galleries, nature centers, zoos, and 
botanical gardens to see if these organi- 
zations offer classes as well. I teach 

Looks like these migrating snow geese got 
stuck waiting in line while shopping for the 
holidays. Avoid the rush and get your gifts 
today! © Lynda Richardson 

workshops in Richmond through 
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and the 
University of Richmond's School of 
Continuing Studies. In 2011, I will be 
expanding my workshops across the 
state. Prices can range from $50 to $300 
depending on what you sign up for, but 

liwqfflt off it %» Ijftmm, 

I'm confident the photographer on 
your list would enjoy a class, whatever 
it is! To find out more, go to www.lynda And 
check this column for listings of other 
workshops throughout the year. 

I hope these suggestions will help 
you find a special gift for the photogra- 
pher in your life. Happy Holidays and 
Happy Shooting! □ 

You are invited to submit one to five of your 
best photographs to "Image of the Month," 
Virginia Wildlife Magazine, P.O. Box 11104, 
4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230- 
1104. Send original slides, super high-quality 
prints, or high-res jpeg, tiff, or raw files on a 
disk and include a self-addressed, stamped 
envelope or other shipping method for return. 
Also, please include any pertinent information 
regarding how and where you captured the 
image and what camera and settings you 
used, along with your phone number. We look 
forward to seeing and sharing your work with 
our readers. 

Congratulations go toJuanita K. Csontos of Alexandria for her wonderful photograph of a 
fluffy red fox sitting in her backyard along Little Hunting Creek. Taken last December, 
Juanita used a Canon G10 digital camera, ISO 200, l/160th, f/4.4. Great spotting Juanita! 



by Ken and Maria Perrotte 

Your Goose is Cooked 

rhe holidays are here with all the glad tidings, good 
cheer, and great food this season brings. One of the 
traditional main courses of many Euro-centric tables is 
roast goose. 

There are many ways to clean and prepare a wild 
goose. Many avid goose hunters choose to breast out 
their bounty. Simply put, that wastes considerable 
meat. You can easily carve the breast meat from a Cana- 
da goose and, with just a few more artful slices and 
twists, remove the thighs and drumsticks as well. Slow 
cook these pieces in a crockpot and the boned meat is 
superb for soups and stews. 

As with any game animal, the youngest legal ani- 
mal will usually make the finest table fare. So it goes 
with geese. When you're sorting through the day's bag 
of honkers, look for the smaller birds that might repre- 
sent the young of the year. The meat on these young 
geese is mild and tender and roasts superbly. 

Plucking is more work, but the smiles and nods of 
approval you'll get when that roasted bird is carved and 
placed on the table will justify it. 

Holiday Roast Goose With Gravy 

1 Plucked (skin on) young wild goose (3-6 pounds 

dressed weight) 

Several leaves of fresh rosemary 
1 large carrot, sliced into large chunks 

Several leaves of fresh sage 
V2 clove garlic 
1 large, thick slice of onion 
5 large mushrooms cut into large slices 


Va cup chicken stock (or x /t> cup for a larger goose) 

Place rosemary, carrots, garlic, onion, and sage inside 
the goose cavity and on bottom of a roasting pan. Light- 
ly season the whole goose with salt and pepper. Add 
chicken stock, cover or generously tent with aluminum 
foil, and bake at 350° for about 40 minutes or until a 
meat thermometer registers 160°. Remove cover and 
raise temperature to 400° for about 10 minutes, or until 
skin is nicely browned and internal temperature reach- 
es at least 165°. A broiler that will accommodate some- 
thing the height of a goose can also help brown and 
crisp the skin. Let goose rest while you make the gravy. 



Drippings from roasting pan 
2 or 3 tablespoons flour, divided 
2 cups chicken (or goose) stock 
Vi cup dry red wine 
V2 bay leaf 

Salt and pepper 

Pour off all drippings, including vegetables, scraping 
up browned bits from pan. Skim off most of the fat. 
Add a tablespoon of goose fat and an equal amount of 
flour to a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stir- 
ring constantly for about 10 minutes until mixture 
turns medium brown, essentially making a roux. Add 
wine, chicken stock, pan drippings, and bay leaf. Raise 
heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 
about 10 minutes, stirring often. Strain through sieve 
to remove solids. Whisk together about a tablespoon 
of flour and one or two tablespoons of the gravy from 
the saucepan. Gradually whisk the mixture into the 
gravy to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste. 



McKayla's Scalloped Potatoes 

4 cups thinly sliced raw potatoes 
tablespoons of minced onion 
tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces 
teaspoon salt 
teaspoon black pepper 
cups of warm whole milk 

In a shallow baking dish, layer half of the sliced pota- 
toes. It's okay if slices overlap slightly. Top with half 
the onions, salt, and pepper. Dot with half of the butter. 
Repeat with another layer of ingredients. Pour the 
warm milk over the potatoes and bake uncovered at 
350° for VA hours. 

Steamed baby carrots and baby Brussels sprouts make 
good vegetable pairings. 

After every last morsel has seemingly been separated 
from the goose carcass, don't throw that bird away yet. 
Instead, boil it for about 30-40 minutes to create a fla- 
vorful stock that can be frozen for use in later dishes. 

Serve with a merlot or other medium-body dry red 
wine. □ 



Index to Virginia Wildlife 

2010 Volume 71, Numbers 1-12 


Dark Days for Virginia's Bats, Santiestevan May, p. 20 

Finding Wilderness in Virginia's Urban Jungles, 

Santiestevan Aug., p. 20 

Love Them Weeds!, Santiestevan Oct., p. 18 

Stranded on Mountaintops, Sant/esfevan Nov., p. 21 

Virginia's Changing Coasts, Santiestevan Jan., p. 20 

Why Crayfish Count, Santiestevan Jun., p. 16 


Boaters Speak a Different Language, Guess Sept., p. 33 

Do you have any matches...?, Guess Oct., p. 33 

In The Eye of a Whale, Guess Aug., p. 33 

Low Head Dams, Guess Jun., p. 32 

Offshore with Nothing But a Compass, Guess May, p. ,32 

This is the Sailing Vessel For Sail !, Guess Jul., p. 33 

Virginia Celebrates 50 Years of Safe Boating, Guess Apr., p. 32 


2009 Angler Hall of Fame & Anglers of the Year Jun., p. 28 

Ain't No Fish in that Creek, Hallacher Apr., p. 28 

Briery The Rest of The Year, Hart Oct., p. 14 

Fishing From Terra Firma, Petrocci May, p. 16 

Give the Gift of Fishing, Richardson & Ostrander Jul., p. 14 

Joe and His Muskies, Ingram Feb., p. 24 

Kids Catching Fishing Fever, Brown Jan., p. 24 

Minnow Matching Smallmouth Tactics, Murray Jun., p. 24 

Mom's Day Off, Beasley May, p. 4 

Poor Man's Tarpon, McGlade Feb., p. 20 

Return oftheBrookie to Lower Stony Creek, Ingram .... Aug., p. 16 

Return to the Roanoke River, Ingram May, p. 12 

The Fine Art of Gar Fishing, Richardson Jun., p. 8 

Western Branch's Angling Bounty, McGlade Sept., p. 18 

Winter Deep Dropping Attracts Hearty Souls, Perrotte. . . . Jan., p. 12 


A Day With a Duck Call Maker, Clarkson Dec, p. 17 

A Duck Hunter's Journal, Clarkson Jan., p. 29 

A Family Affair, Clarkson Feb., p. 12 

Art With an Edge, Jones Apr., p. 4 

Crafting a Connection to History, Jones Oct., p. 4 

David's First Deer, Ingram Sept., p. 24 

Deer Hunting is Not Just For Men, Hester Nov., p. 12 

Highland County's Wild Treasures, Perrotte Feb., p. 4 

Hunting the Night Shift, Hart Jan., p. 4 

Listening Closely To An Old Bird Dog, Puckett Dec, p. 10 

Rx for Your Dog, Jones Nov., p. 26 

Shooting with a Woman, Jones Jan., p. 16 

The Watermen Way, Clarkson Jun., p. 4 

'Tisthe Season, Shepherd Apr., p. 8 

Traveling With a Dog, Vones Aug., p. 8 


A Passion to Serve, Brown Oct., p. 9 

A Tribute to Our Sporting Heritage, Hester Sept., p. 14 

Annual Photography Contest Showcase March 

Come to the Fair, Brown Sept., p. 22 

Conservation Medicine, Majarov Apr., p. 12 

Cub Scouts Yesterday and Today, McGlade Jun., p. 12 

Dogs on Trial, Jones Sept., p. 4 

Down-to-Earth Education, Brown Apr., p. 24 

Estuaries to Oceans, Brown Dec, p. 24 

Financial Summary Dec, p. 30 

Giving Something Back, Montgomery Jul., p. 16 

Hitting the Mark, Ingram Jan., p. 8 

Huntley Meadows, Montgomery Apr., p. 21 

Life Beyond Video Games, McGlade Oct., p. 26 

March of the Salamanders, Ramsey Feb., p. 16 

Mockhorn Island Memories, Badger Oct., p. 22 

Off The Leash, Jones Jan./Feb./Apr./May/Aug. 


Special Love, Clarkson Jul., p. 24 

The Learning Barge, Hester Jul., p. 26 

The Nature Conservancy in Virginia Celebrates 50th Year, 

Badger Oct., p. 28 

Wild About Morels, Santiestevan Apr., p. 17 


Another Season of Holiday Wishes!, Richardson Dec, p. 33 

Bright Light? No Problem!, Richardson Oct., p. 32 

Depth-of-Field Preview Button, Richardson Jul., p. 32 

Gray Snow a Problem?— Just Open Up!, Richardson Nov., p. 33 

Hiding in Plain Sight, Richardson Feb., p. 34 

If Your Images Aren't Sharp, Richardson Jan., p. 34 

Just Say "No" to Automatic-Part 1, Richardson Apr., p. 34 

Just Say "No" to Automatic-Part 2, Richardson May, p. 34 

Just Say "No" to Automatic-Part 3, Richardson Jun., p. 34 

Telling a Story With Pictures, Richardson Aug., p. 32 

The Theater of Color, Richardson Sept., p. 32 


A Model of Wildlife Conservation, Montgomery Dec, p. 12 

Bears in Abundance, Beasley Dec, p. 4 

Coursey Springs: A State-of-the-Art Hatchery, Beasley. . . . Dec, p 21 

Fresh Beginnings Benefit Wildlife, Hart Nov., p. 4 

Hoffler Creek: An Urban Oasis, Swenson Jun., p. 20 

Jewel of the Potomac, Booth Aug., p. 12 

Mining for Wildlife, Hart Sept., p. 10 

Occoquan National Wildlife Refuge, Booth May, p. 8 

OurSmallest Falcon Needs He\p,Abell Aug., p. 24 

Redbud Run, Majarov Nov., p. 16 

Students Saving Snails, Brown Nov., p. 8 

The Canebrake Rattlesnake Story, Brown Jul., p. 20 

The Incredible Journey of Hope, Badger Aug., p. 4 

The Lasting Legacy oftheCCC, Grey Jul., p. 9 

The Restoration of a Grand River, Hester Feb., p. 8 

Virginia's Box Turtle Connection, Majarov May, p. 24 

Virginia's First Bear Smart Community, Sajecki Feb., p. 28 

Where The Mountains Meet The River, Majarov Jul., p. 4 


Baby Back Squirrels, Perrotte Jan., p. 33 

Baked Stuffed Shells, Perrotte Apr., p. 33 

Catfish Court-Bouillon, Perrotte Jun., p. 33 

Chicken Fried Venison, the Ultimate Comfort Food, 

Perrotte Nov., p. 34 

Edible Bait, Perrotte Aug., p. 34 

Fried Yellow Perch, Perrotte Feb., p. 33 

King George's Venison Chili, Perrotte Jul., p. 34 

Roast Duck with Orange Marmalade Glaze, Perrotte Oct., p. 34 

Stovetop Goose with Raspberry Sauce, Perrotte Sept., p. 34 

Venison Piccata, Perrotte May, p. 33 

Your Goose is Cooked, Perrotte Dec, p. 34 

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